Daintree National Park

 
 


Daintree National Park is a vast area of tropical rainforest wilderness in Far North Queensland, Australia. This rainforest is of immense biological value to the wider scientific community due to its incredible biodiversity and high levels of endemism – that is its concentration of plant and animal species that are found nowhere else on the planet. Daintree National Park houses the oldest rainforest on the planet – the closest living counterpart to the forests that once covered the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland.
























Climate

Daintree National Park is located within the tropical region of North Queensland and therefore becomes inundated with rain when the monsoon trough arrives during the warmer months (Nov – Mar). During the cooler months (Apr-Oct), while the rest of North Queensland is going through its seasonal dry the mountainous Daintree National Park goes through its ‘not quite as wet season’. During these months the forest experiences an orographic weather pattern where the tall mountains that sit close to the coastline trap the warm moisture laden air being pushed in by the prevailing south-easterly ocean breeze.


When to see it?


Summer

Daintree National Park can experience periods of incredibly intense rainfall causing flash flooding to occur in the rivers and creeks of the area. This can happen at any time of the year but is more common in the summer months with the presence of the monsoonal trough. However, the shortness of the rivers in the Daintree means that most flooding (even in the summer months) is short lived and the rivers can rise and fall several feet within a few hours. Flooding, landslides and fallen trees are a major deterrent for many tourists at this time of the year but they do make for quieter roads and more of an adventure. Box jellyfish are active in coastal waters over the summer but the beautiful freshwater swimming holes in the forest are at their fullest and cleanest at this time of the year.


Winter

Winter is generally a more pleasant time to see Daintree National Park with fewer annoying insects, no box jellyfish and more comfortable weather conditions. It does come at a price though – people. This is the tourist season and some of the more popular areas can become quite crowded. There are ways to beat the crowds though – like starting your drive first thing in the morning or visiting one of the pristine private properties within the park that offer a more intimate and exclusive experience.


How to see it?

There are a number of companies that offer guided tours to the Daintree National Park. Tours are a great way to experience the forest as most locals would agree that its true beauty lies in its biological and cultural significance, which is difficult to appreciate and understand without a good guide to walk you through it. Tours cost around $170-180 pp and we highly recommend Daintree Wonder Tours.


If organised tours are just not your thing or you are on a tight budget, then you can hire a car from Cairns or Port Douglas and drive yourself there. The road is sealed as far as Cape Tribulation beach but is narrow, windy and can be quite slippery. Beyond Cape Tribulation the road is clay based and suitable only for 4WDs as there are several creek crossings that can pose a danger after rain. If you do decide to drive yourself you should purchase The Daintree Self-Drive Audio Guide – a cheap alternative to a tour guide. This CD provides the self-driver with a commentary to play as they drive, as well as a Daintree Map, plant guide and animal guide.

 

For more info on things to do in the Daintree visit:

www.daintree.info